In 2013 the quantitative reasoning test was the lowest scoring of the four UKCAT subtests, and in order to achieve an average score (600) you had to get just 16 questions right. These scores are a testimony to just how difficult this test was. So just what do you need to do in order to improve your UKCAT quantitative reasoning subtest score? Let’s take a closer look at this test.

Mastering the basics – QR maths skills

One of the key skills for the quantitative reasoning test is mental arithmetic. In this test, you generally need to make more than one calculation in order to come to the answer, and you must be able to do these calculations quickly and accurately. Sharpening your mental arithmetic skills should be a large part of your UKCAT quantitative reasoning preparation.

You also need to be clear on how to perform a range of calculations needed to come to the answers. These functions include ratios, percentages, fractions, multiplication, and division to name but a few. To arrive at the answer, you need to work through these calculations steadily,  methodically and in an organised way.

You can use a calculator to help you out with these questions, so prepare with an onscreen calculator from the beginning.

Working quickly in a quantitative reasoning test

The most difficult element of the quantitative reasoning sub-test is answering the questions with the required calculations in the time allocated. Even with this year’s additional two minutes on the time for the subtest, test-takers are reporting that they are struggling to complete the test in the time allocated. So what can you do to get faster?

Practise using an onscreen calculator. This will save a lot of time as you familiarise yourself with where to move your mouse in order to make calculations. Some people have said their test centre won’t allow them to use the keyboard, so practise using a mouse on the calculator as well.

Don’t spend too long on one question. If you find you are spending too long on a question, flag it up to go back to later and move on to the next one.

Perform easy calculations in your head or on paper. Learn shortcut techniques as part of your preparation. For example, divide the number by 100 in your head when calculating percentages. You may then need to use a calculator to multiply this number by 26%, but at least you have cut out one step.

Keep your calculations on your whiteboard. You may find that you need to use the same calculations again in the next question, so writing them down and keeping them to go back to will allow you to skip stages in later questions.

The quantitative reasoning sub-test is difficult, but by preparing your maths and reasoning skills, as well as practising working through questions quickly, you will come out with a good score. It is worth taking time to ensure that you have the basic skills before you start preparing. And take practice tests to help you understand the timing. Our UKCAT practice packs contain revision materials for skills, as well as test tips and of course all important practice tests.

Good luck!